Is Kapil Sibal trying to provoke Civil Society members on Lokpal?

Having once brushed up against popular anger over the Baba Ramdev episode, the government seems to be in a mood to get out of its commitments with the other crusader — Anna Hazare and his Lokpal movement.

Speaking to reporters on “issues related to Lokpal,” Kapil Sibal, chief troubleshooter for the government, tried to provoke the civil society camp by claiming that many provisions of the upcoming Act were finalized by the government today.

“We have finalized many provisions.. We will continue to carry on the drafting process,” Sibal said, in effect saying that crucial areas of disagreements between the civil society and itself have been “decided” in its own favor.

Sibal however did not clarify which provisions have been “finalized” by his side, but the signal is definitely one of defiance and non-cooperation, as seen by the civil society leaders.

“This seems to be an attempt to destroy the negotiation process and get over the issue of disagreements, by claiming that we were absent during one day,” pointed out a civil society activist associated with the movement. He pointed out that the Civil Society is not surprised by the government’s attempts to wriggle out of its commitment to conduct a proper, public discussion on the various provisions of the bill.

The Civil Society, however, is unlikely to give in so easily. “How can they say they have finalized the bill when one side was absent,” asked he. He also emphasized that the Civil Society will not fall for the provocation issued by Sibal, in the hope that they will break off talks forever.

“The whole point of saying things like ‘they called us liars, conspirators etc..’ and that they are ok even if we don’t turn up at the talks was to provoke us into abandoning the talks,” he said, adding: “Basically, the government seems to be trying to get us to break off the talks by hook or crook.”

According to his reading, Sibal’s sensational claims that the government is being called liars etc. is meant to distract from the actual import of his statements — that the government is trying to wriggle out of talks.


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